The weather is hotting up and so is the reputation of UK sparkling wine. Our expert panel found plenty to recommend at a recent tasting - here's five of the best to try...
Top UK sparkling wines now offer quality comparable to their vaunted French rivals, while exhibiting a style and structure all of their own, as Christelle Guibert reports.
Scroll down to see the top five UK sparkling summer wines
Two decades ago, who would have thought that English sparkling wines would be on restaurant and bar lists, and Champagne houses planting vineyards in the UK? In a short period of time, England has moved from being just a wine-consuming nation to a respectable wine-producing country.
Richard Hemming MW felt that the Champagne argument is now well-worn: ‘Most people would agree that the best of English sparkling wine, and we had some good examples today, can easily compete with Champagne and England is poised to be the only competitor to Champagne in terms of quality.’
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Stephen Skelton MW agreed: ‘I think UK sparkling wines have a fighting chance between £25-£50 and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are selling as much English sparkling wine as Champagne in a few years’ time.’ Hemming felt the best wines ‘tasted’ English: ‘They were structurally different, mostly because of the acid, but that’s a good thing because it’s a distinctive characteristic.’
Our experts were impressed with the overall quality. Justin Howard-Sneyd MW found ‘wines that combined real fruit charm and floral fragrance with complexity from lees, from secondary contact with the lees and from bottle ageing’. Skelton echoed his view: ‘The quality is getting better. As the competition hots up and the volume of good wine is increasing, producers are thinking about the sites and how they grow grapes, and how to compete with the major brands, who are getting bigger and bigger.’
Editing for Decanter.com by Laura Seal.
Five UK sparkling wines for summer
Planted in 2004 and 2005 with both Burgundy and Champagne clones...
From a small 1ha vineyard at Storrington Priory at the foot of the South Downs, some on chalk and some
Appealing, generous toasty, buttery nose. Refreshing acidity enlivens some rich flavours of baked apple and buttered tea cakes...
Very perfumed with white flowers and creamy notes...
Wonderful and complex bouquet with open, fleshy fruit aromas...